Dáil committee to discuss whether TDs are in breach of ethics laws
THE DÁIL’S internal oversight committee is to meet in the coming weeks to examine whether as many as 14 TDs were in breach of ethics legislation by failing to disclose their previous membership of local councils in the Register of Members’ Interests.
TheJournal.ie has learned that the Committee on Members’ Interests will meet within the next fortnight to determine whether some TDs from four political parties, plus independents, fulfilled their obligations under ethics laws dating from 1995.
The meeting comes after this website learned that 18 members of the Oireachtas could be in breach of the Ethics in Public Office Act by not disclosing their previous jobs as local councillors – even though they automatically forfeit those positions when they are elected to the Dáil or Seanad.
The public ethics watchdog, the Standards in Public Office Commission (SIPO), said it believed members were required to disclose any position they hold – or previously held – if it resulted in them receiving over €2,600 while they were a member of the Oireachtas.
It was reported last week that 22 current members of the Oireachtas – including 17 TDs and five members of the Seanad – had received gratuity severance payments from their former councils as a result of having been forced to give up their council seats.
Each of those payments crossed the €2,600 mark (the Irish Independent, which first reported the figures, noted that they averaged €34,300 each) – leading SIPO to tell TheJournal.ie that it believes those TDs and Senators should have listed their council positions on the Register of Members’ Interests for 2011.